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11 asylum

  1. 1. Asylum The Racial State Week 11 Dr Alana Lentin a.lentin@uws.edu.au
  2. 2. Overview Definitions & legal obligations Facts & figures Forced migration / Globalisation Criminalisation of asylum seekers The detention industry Campaigns
  3. 3. ref·u·gee   /ˌrefyo͝oˈjē/ ! Any person who owing to a well founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his/her nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself/herself of theprotection of that country. ! United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (1951) ! ! ! Australia is a signatory to 1951 Convention on Refugees. ! ! An asylum seeker is someone who is waiting to have their claim for refugee status approved. If a person is found to be a genuine refugee, Australia (and all other signatories) are legally bound to offer protection and to ensure that the! person is not sent back unwillingly to a country in which they risk being persecuted.! ! This is called the principle of ‘non-refoulement’.! ! Background to Geneva Convention:! ! Written in the context of WW3 aftermath.! ! Geared towards a European public and never meant to cope with non-European (African, Asian etc.) immigration.! ! But, sharp rise in ethnic conflict - often fuelled by the West - in the Middle East (Iraq-Iran war, Palestinians…) or in Latin America (Chilean and Argentinian dictatorships…) or famine and conflict in various African countries - led to increase in people seeking refuge in the West.! ! Further increased since wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Syrian civil war. Asylum seeking in Australia also fuelled by the tensions in Sri Lanka and the dangers to the Tamil minority.! ! !
  4. 4. The flight of refugees around the globe NewYork Times New York Time source: ! Nearly 60 million people are displaced around the world because of conflict and persecution (UN figures). About 14 million of those fled in 2014. ! Despite the drama of migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe, most Africans displaced by conflict stay in Africa. ! About 15 million people are displaced in sub-Saharan Africa — 4.5 million of them fled last year. Long-lasting conflicts in Somalia, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as the civil war in South Sudan, are some of the top contributors. !
  5. 5. NewYork Times When refugees flee their own countries, most end up with their immediate neighbours, often some of the world’s poorer nations. ! In terms of hosting displaced people, developed countries pale in comparison with nations bordering conflict zones. Combined, the United States and France had 760,000 refugees last year. Ethiopia, for example, is host to some 665,000, most from Somalia and South Sudan.
  6. 6. Asylum and Australia Asylum Seeker Resource Centre Australia: ! Australian figures: ! Total onshore applications for asylum in 2013: 26,427 (of which boat arrivals 18,119). 48% of plane arrivals and 67% of boat arrivals were granted visas (meaning that most arrivals are so-called ‘genuine’ refugees. ! 35,000 people lodged offshore refugee visa applications (6,500 granted) ! [Source - The Refugee Council] https://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/resources/statistics/asylum-seekers/] ! Current AU commitment: ! The government plans to grant 6,000 refugee visas in 2014-15 (not including 12,000 crisis refugees for Syrians) ! Compare with 64,500 in Germany or 83,400 in the US (these are for people granted permanent protection - not people arriving in extraordinary circumstances such as currently in Europe). !
  7. 7. Why seek asylum? Multiple push factor Why a theory of forced migration? 1. Multiple push factors:! ! Changing definition of what pushed people to flee.! ! Beyond traditional reasons - political persecution, war, famine, etc. These are still the predominant factors particularly during today’s context (Syrian civil war, Iraq, Afghanistan, Rohingya Muslims…)! ! - there are also new factors:! ! Castles mentions: ! ! - Environmental factors/climate refugees - ‘development projects such as dams, airports, roads, luxury housing, conservation areas and game parks.’! ! Often affect poor or indigenous people more - World Bank says that there are 10,000 environmental refugees (in 2003). But Castles warns against this label - as the factors are economic and political as well as purely environmental (i.e. people without political power unable to resist, e.g. mining projects).! ! - Sex trafficking: growing demand in the industrialised north coupled with heavy migration controls fuels the illicit sex industry - underage, unprotected, often unpaid, no access to sex worker organisations/unions (often affects women from conflict zones and others lured by the hope of a better life).! ! 2. Why a theory of forced migration?! ! Castles (2003): it is not the numbers alone that make a theory necessary.!
  8. 8. Worthy lives, Wasted lives Migration seems to have become intensified during globalisation (era since the 1970s defined by the interconnectedness of economic and political structures at a global level).! ! Many have pointed out that, under globalisation goods and money flow freely while the movement of people is constrained.! ! Z. Bauman: to understand globalisation, it is better to see it is a two-way process - for some the world is becoming more global, while for the majority it is becoming more local.! ! Glocalization! ! Zygmunt Bauman argues that globalization can be described as the ‘new world disorder’.! ! ! While globalization has allowed the rich to make more money more quickly, two-thirds of the world has actually lost out due to globalization.! ! Those who benefit from globalization live in time rather than space. They are not constrained by their geographical location because their wealth allows them to move freely.! ! In contrast, those who lose out are stuck in space. As Bauman puts it, ‘in their time, nothing ever happens’ because they do not have the ability to move as they please. ! ! So globalization and localization should be seen as two sides of the same coin.! !
  9. 9. Criminalising Asylum Since the late 1990s, it has become commonplace to link asylum seekers with criminality, sponging, and increasingly with terrorism.! ! Explain racist van image ! ! Criminality: Two aspects ! ! 1. Seeking asylum is increasingly portrayed as illegal. In fact it is not illegal to seek asylum whatever the means of transport used to get into a country.! ! 2. Asylum seekers themselves are portrayed as criminals, or potential criminals. This can be seen in calls for communities to be told about asylum seekers living in their areas (as one would for sex offenders).! ! In addition to the policy of mandatory detention (to be examined later), the law has become harsher to place asylum seekers living in the community on temporary visas under suspicion.! ! e.g. Code of Behaviour:! ! The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection introduced a new Code of Behaviour in December 2014 which will apply to all adult ‘illegal maritime arrivals’ who are considered for the grant of subclass 050 Bridging E Visa (DIBP, 2014b). ! ! The code was introduced to make sure that people who are granted a bridging visa behave ‘appropriately’ in the Australian community. ! ! The terms of the code explicitly state that, !
  10. 10. Criminalising Asylum ‘We consider the border not to be a purely physical barrier separating nation states, but a complex continuum stretching offshore and onshore, including the overseas, maritime, physical border and domestic dimensions of the border.! ! Treating the border as a continuum allows an integrated, layered approach to provide border management in depth — working ahead of and behind the border, as well as at the border, to manage threats and take advantage of opportunities.’! Border Force Website! Since the late 1990s, it has become commonplace to link asylum seekers with criminality, sponging, and increasingly with terrorism.! ! Explain racist van image ! ! Criminality: Two aspects ! ! 1. Seeking asylum is increasingly portrayed as illegal. In fact it is not illegal to seek asylum whatever the means of transport used to get into a country.! ! 2. Asylum seekers themselves are portrayed as criminals, or potential criminals. This can be seen in calls for communities to be told about asylum seekers living in their areas (as one would for sex offenders).! ! In addition to the policy of mandatory detention (to be examined later), the law has become harsher to place asylum seekers living in the community on temporary visas under suspicion.! ! e.g. Code of Behaviour:! ! The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection introduced a new Code of Behaviour in December 2014 which will apply to all adult ‘illegal maritime arrivals’ who are considered for the grant of subclass 050 Bridging E Visa (DIBP, 2014b). ! ! The code was introduced to make sure that people who are granted a bridging visa behave ‘appropriately’ in the Australian community. ! ! The terms of the code explicitly state that, !
  11. 11. Producing illegality 1. In Australia it has become consensus that the general population endorses a tough stance on asylum seekers.! ! 59 per cent of people think most boat arrivals are not genuine refugees according to January 2014 poll.! ! Similar attitudes in other western countries (although tide may be turning in reaction to recent crisis - but for how long?)! ! But where do these harsh attitudes come from?! ! It is undoubted that a combination of the wish of governments to be seen as tough on border protection and national security (the two are often seen as going hand-in- hand) and the role of the media in portraying asylum seekers as potential criminals and/or terrorists are at fault.! ! In AU, tough attitudes to asylum seekers go back to the Tampa affair in 2001. A boat carrying 438 refugees from Afghanistan was denied entry to Australia.! ! Howard: "we decide who comes into this country and the circumstances in which they come.”! ! Howard’s tough stance won him the election, piggy-backing on 9/11 (which happened one month later), allowing for a conflation of asylum seekers - seen as ‘queue- jumpers’ trying to enter illegally - with the threat of terrorism (a common trope - even today Syrian refugees are being portrayed as infiltrated by ISIS members). ! ! ! 2. Media:! ! Asylum seekers are often portrayed in the press as freeloaders [click for photo].!
  12. 12. Producing illegality 1. In Australia it has become consensus that the general population endorses a tough stance on asylum seekers.! ! 59 per cent of people think most boat arrivals are not genuine refugees according to January 2014 poll.! ! Similar attitudes in other western countries (although tide may be turning in reaction to recent crisis - but for how long?)! ! But where do these harsh attitudes come from?! ! It is undoubted that a combination of the wish of governments to be seen as tough on border protection and national security (the two are often seen as going hand-in- hand) and the role of the media in portraying asylum seekers as potential criminals and/or terrorists are at fault.! ! In AU, tough attitudes to asylum seekers go back to the Tampa affair in 2001. A boat carrying 438 refugees from Afghanistan was denied entry to Australia.! ! Howard: "we decide who comes into this country and the circumstances in which they come.”! ! Howard’s tough stance won him the election, piggy-backing on 9/11 (which happened one month later), allowing for a conflation of asylum seekers - seen as ‘queue- jumpers’ trying to enter illegally - with the threat of terrorism (a common trope - even today Syrian refugees are being portrayed as infiltrated by ISIS members). ! ! ! 2. Media:! ! Asylum seekers are often portrayed in the press as freeloaders [click for photo].!
  13. 13. Producing illegality 1. In Australia it has become consensus that the general population endorses a tough stance on asylum seekers.! ! 59 per cent of people think most boat arrivals are not genuine refugees according to January 2014 poll.! ! Similar attitudes in other western countries (although tide may be turning in reaction to recent crisis - but for how long?)! ! But where do these harsh attitudes come from?! ! It is undoubted that a combination of the wish of governments to be seen as tough on border protection and national security (the two are often seen as going hand-in- hand) and the role of the media in portraying asylum seekers as potential criminals and/or terrorists are at fault.! ! In AU, tough attitudes to asylum seekers go back to the Tampa affair in 2001. A boat carrying 438 refugees from Afghanistan was denied entry to Australia.! ! Howard: "we decide who comes into this country and the circumstances in which they come.”! ! Howard’s tough stance won him the election, piggy-backing on 9/11 (which happened one month later), allowing for a conflation of asylum seekers - seen as ‘queue- jumpers’ trying to enter illegally - with the threat of terrorism (a common trope - even today Syrian refugees are being portrayed as infiltrated by ISIS members). ! ! ! 2. Media:! ! Asylum seekers are often portrayed in the press as freeloaders [click for photo].!
  14. 14. 2015 ‘Migration Crisis’ 1. Video explainer of backdrop to the current European ‘migrant crisis’. ! The use of the word crisis should be questioned. The crisis seems to be centred on the origins of the refugees (from Muslim countries). As we saw when we examine the criminalisation of asylum seekers, this fits in with the prevalent discourse connecting asylum seekers with terrorism. ! [show video] ! 2. Repression of migrant movement across the border. [show video] Hungary has taken on the role of protector of EU borders, putting up razor wire and refusing to allow refugees on trains. Similar repression in Macedonia on the border with Greece. ! Other EU countries, such as Denmark has put ads in Lebanese newspapers telling would-be migrants that Denmark has cut welfare for refugees and that those given asylum will not be allowed to have their families brought to the country during the first year, that a residence permit is delivered only to those who speak Danish, and that rejected asylum seekers are swiftly sent back to their home countries. ! 3. In AU, the government has committed to taking 12,000 refugees from Syria, taking the overall quota for the year to 18,000 (from 6,000). Several commentators called for Christian refugees to be prioritised (click Sheehan quote). e.g. SMH columnist, Paul Sheehan (backed by e.g. Minister Scott Morrison). ! As Yassir Morsi commented in The Guardian, ‘The rhetoric of the debate is driven by an unstated, disingenuous demand: because we are the compassionate ones, we can demand a return on our generosity. That means we get to openly decide who is a good refugee and who isn’t – Christians are good, Muslims, not so much – without being accused of racism.’ !
  15. 15. 2015 ‘Migration Crisis’ 1. Video explainer of backdrop to the current European ‘migrant crisis’. ! The use of the word crisis should be questioned. The crisis seems to be centred on the origins of the refugees (from Muslim countries). As we saw when we examine the criminalisation of asylum seekers, this fits in with the prevalent discourse connecting asylum seekers with terrorism. ! [show video] ! 2. Repression of migrant movement across the border. [show video] Hungary has taken on the role of protector of EU borders, putting up razor wire and refusing to allow refugees on trains. Similar repression in Macedonia on the border with Greece. ! Other EU countries, such as Denmark has put ads in Lebanese newspapers telling would-be migrants that Denmark has cut welfare for refugees and that those given asylum will not be allowed to have their families brought to the country during the first year, that a residence permit is delivered only to those who speak Danish, and that rejected asylum seekers are swiftly sent back to their home countries. ! 3. In AU, the government has committed to taking 12,000 refugees from Syria, taking the overall quota for the year to 18,000 (from 6,000). Several commentators called for Christian refugees to be prioritised (click Sheehan quote). e.g. SMH columnist, Paul Sheehan (backed by e.g. Minister Scott Morrison). ! As Yassir Morsi commented in The Guardian, ‘The rhetoric of the debate is driven by an unstated, disingenuous demand: because we are the compassionate ones, we can demand a return on our generosity. That means we get to openly decide who is a good refugee and who isn’t – Christians are good, Muslims, not so much – without being accused of racism.’ !
  16. 16. 2015 ‘Migration Crisis’ 1. Video explainer of backdrop to the current European ‘migrant crisis’. ! The use of the word crisis should be questioned. The crisis seems to be centred on the origins of the refugees (from Muslim countries). As we saw when we examine the criminalisation of asylum seekers, this fits in with the prevalent discourse connecting asylum seekers with terrorism. ! [show video] ! 2. Repression of migrant movement across the border. [show video] Hungary has taken on the role of protector of EU borders, putting up razor wire and refusing to allow refugees on trains. Similar repression in Macedonia on the border with Greece. ! Other EU countries, such as Denmark has put ads in Lebanese newspapers telling would-be migrants that Denmark has cut welfare for refugees and that those given asylum will not be allowed to have their families brought to the country during the first year, that a residence permit is delivered only to those who speak Danish, and that rejected asylum seekers are swiftly sent back to their home countries. ! 3. In AU, the government has committed to taking 12,000 refugees from Syria, taking the overall quota for the year to 18,000 (from 6,000). Several commentators called for Christian refugees to be prioritised (click Sheehan quote). e.g. SMH columnist, Paul Sheehan (backed by e.g. Minister Scott Morrison). ! As Yassir Morsi commented in The Guardian, ‘The rhetoric of the debate is driven by an unstated, disingenuous demand: because we are the compassionate ones, we can demand a return on our generosity. That means we get to openly decide who is a good refugee and who isn’t – Christians are good, Muslims, not so much – without being accused of racism.’ !
  17. 17. 2015 ‘Migration Crisis’ 1. Video explainer of backdrop to the current European ‘migrant crisis’. ! The use of the word crisis should be questioned. The crisis seems to be centred on the origins of the refugees (from Muslim countries). As we saw when we examine the criminalisation of asylum seekers, this fits in with the prevalent discourse connecting asylum seekers with terrorism. ! [show video] ! 2. Repression of migrant movement across the border. [show video] Hungary has taken on the role of protector of EU borders, putting up razor wire and refusing to allow refugees on trains. Similar repression in Macedonia on the border with Greece. ! Other EU countries, such as Denmark has put ads in Lebanese newspapers telling would-be migrants that Denmark has cut welfare for refugees and that those given asylum will not be allowed to have their families brought to the country during the first year, that a residence permit is delivered only to those who speak Danish, and that rejected asylum seekers are swiftly sent back to their home countries. ! 3. In AU, the government has committed to taking 12,000 refugees from Syria, taking the overall quota for the year to 18,000 (from 6,000). Several commentators called for Christian refugees to be prioritised (click Sheehan quote). e.g. SMH columnist, Paul Sheehan (backed by e.g. Minister Scott Morrison). ! As Yassir Morsi commented in The Guardian, ‘The rhetoric of the debate is driven by an unstated, disingenuous demand: because we are the compassionate ones, we can demand a return on our generosity. That means we get to openly decide who is a good refugee and who isn’t – Christians are good, Muslims, not so much – without being accused of racism.’ !
  18. 18. 2015 ‘Migration Crisis’ 1. Video explainer of backdrop to the current European ‘migrant crisis’. ! The use of the word crisis should be questioned. The crisis seems to be centred on the origins of the refugees (from Muslim countries). As we saw when we examine the criminalisation of asylum seekers, this fits in with the prevalent discourse connecting asylum seekers with terrorism. ! [show video] ! 2. Repression of migrant movement across the border. [show video] Hungary has taken on the role of protector of EU borders, putting up razor wire and refusing to allow refugees on trains. Similar repression in Macedonia on the border with Greece. ! Other EU countries, such as Denmark has put ads in Lebanese newspapers telling would-be migrants that Denmark has cut welfare for refugees and that those given asylum will not be allowed to have their families brought to the country during the first year, that a residence permit is delivered only to those who speak Danish, and that rejected asylum seekers are swiftly sent back to their home countries. ! 3. In AU, the government has committed to taking 12,000 refugees from Syria, taking the overall quota for the year to 18,000 (from 6,000). Several commentators called for Christian refugees to be prioritised (click Sheehan quote). e.g. SMH columnist, Paul Sheehan (backed by e.g. Minister Scott Morrison). ! As Yassir Morsi commented in The Guardian, ‘The rhetoric of the debate is driven by an unstated, disingenuous demand: because we are the compassionate ones, we can demand a return on our generosity. That means we get to openly decide who is a good refugee and who isn’t – Christians are good, Muslims, not so much – without being accused of racism.’ !
  19. 19. 2015 ‘Migration Crisis’ “Syria is thus the eye of a broader storm and the Muslim world is exporting its instability to Europe, via a mass exodus of people. ! What can or should Australia do? There is nothing we can do about the ancient Sunni-Shia schism, but we can protect those who have become collateral damage – Christians.” ! Paul Sheehan, SMH , 7 September 2015 ! 1. Video explainer of backdrop to the current European ‘migrant crisis’. ! The use of the word crisis should be questioned. The crisis seems to be centred on the origins of the refugees (from Muslim countries). As we saw when we examine the criminalisation of asylum seekers, this fits in with the prevalent discourse connecting asylum seekers with terrorism. ! [show video] ! 2. Repression of migrant movement across the border. [show video] Hungary has taken on the role of protector of EU borders, putting up razor wire and refusing to allow refugees on trains. Similar repression in Macedonia on the border with Greece. ! Other EU countries, such as Denmark has put ads in Lebanese newspapers telling would-be migrants that Denmark has cut welfare for refugees and that those given asylum will not be allowed to have their families brought to the country during the first year, that a residence permit is delivered only to those who speak Danish, and that rejected asylum seekers are swiftly sent back to their home countries. ! 3. In AU, the government has committed to taking 12,000 refugees from Syria, taking the overall quota for the year to 18,000 (from 6,000). Several commentators called for Christian refugees to be prioritised (click Sheehan quote). e.g. SMH columnist, Paul Sheehan (backed by e.g. Minister Scott Morrison). ! As Yassir Morsi commented in The Guardian, ‘The rhetoric of the debate is driven by an unstated, disingenuous demand: because we are the compassionate ones, we can demand a return on our generosity. That means we get to openly decide who is a good refugee and who isn’t – Christians are good, Muslims, not so much – without being accused of racism.’ !
  20. 20. People-to-People action 2. Reactions of ordinary people seem to have contradicted the actions of governments. ! Examples of people-to-people solidarity actions. ! [click for photo] going to refugee camps (e.g. Calais) - Daily Mail Newspaper offer of 1 pound tickets to Calais taken up by activists bringing clothes etc. to people in the camp. [click for photo] German example of ‘Refugees Welcome initiative’ started in Berlin. People housing refugees (direct reaction to common criticisms of open borders approaches - why don’t you have a refugee live in your house?) Universities offering scholarships to refugees (e.g. WSU) People driving refugees across the border after Hungary closed the border and trains were not leaving. Also, activism during immigration raids (e.g. Peckham)
  21. 21. People-to-People action 2. Reactions of ordinary people seem to have contradicted the actions of governments. ! Examples of people-to-people solidarity actions. ! [click for photo] going to refugee camps (e.g. Calais) - Daily Mail Newspaper offer of 1 pound tickets to Calais taken up by activists bringing clothes etc. to people in the camp. [click for photo] German example of ‘Refugees Welcome initiative’ started in Berlin. People housing refugees (direct reaction to common criticisms of open borders approaches - why don’t you have a refugee live in your house?) Universities offering scholarships to refugees (e.g. WSU) People driving refugees across the border after Hungary closed the border and trains were not leaving. Also, activism during immigration raids (e.g. Peckham)
  22. 22. Australia and Mandatory Detention Origins Australia: a Global laboratory 1. Origins: Mandatory detention in AU brought in under Keating in 1992. ! Quote from Immigration minister of the time, Gerry Hand. ! AU was the first country to introduce mandatory indefinite detention for asylum seekers. ! Needs to be seen in the global context of immigration policy. Although the Refugee Convention states that signatories must grant asylum to those fleeing persecution etc., this conflicts with states’ demands to control who enters their borders and settles. ! The attitude to asylum seekers must be seen within this context. Australia since the early 90s has sought to separate between so-called legitimate (‘legal’) and illegitimate (‘illegal’) migrants. ! The designation of those who arrive by boat as ‘illegal’ is arbitrary because it does not mean that they are any less in danger than those who arrive by plane or who come via resettlement programs (e.g. Syrians in offshore detention are ostensibly the same people as those being chosen for resettlement under recently announced programme). ! The very existence of mandatory detention for asylum seekers establishes the notion that there are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ asylum seekers and right and wrong methods to enter the country. ! Mandatory indefinite detention is arguable worse than imprisonment because, unlike in the case of a convicted criminal, there is neither a crime (seeking asylum is legal under international law) nor a sentence - asylum seekers do not know how long they will spend in detention nor if they will be allowed to settle in AU once their case has been heard.
  23. 23. Australia and Mandatory Detention Origins Australia: a Global laboratory “I believe it is crucial that all persons who come to Australia without prior authorisation not be released into the community.Their release would undermine the Government’s strategy for determining their refugee claims or entry claims. Indeed, I believe it is vital to Australia that this be prevented as far as possible.The Government is determined that a clear signal be sent that migration to Australia may not be achieved by simply arriving in this country and expecting to be allowed into the community.” Gerry Hand, Minister for Immigration 1992 1. Origins: Mandatory detention in AU brought in under Keating in 1992. ! Quote from Immigration minister of the time, Gerry Hand. ! AU was the first country to introduce mandatory indefinite detention for asylum seekers. ! Needs to be seen in the global context of immigration policy. Although the Refugee Convention states that signatories must grant asylum to those fleeing persecution etc., this conflicts with states’ demands to control who enters their borders and settles. ! The attitude to asylum seekers must be seen within this context. Australia since the early 90s has sought to separate between so-called legitimate (‘legal’) and illegitimate (‘illegal’) migrants. ! The designation of those who arrive by boat as ‘illegal’ is arbitrary because it does not mean that they are any less in danger than those who arrive by plane or who come via resettlement programs (e.g. Syrians in offshore detention are ostensibly the same people as those being chosen for resettlement under recently announced programme). ! The very existence of mandatory detention for asylum seekers establishes the notion that there are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ asylum seekers and right and wrong methods to enter the country. ! Mandatory indefinite detention is arguable worse than imprisonment because, unlike in the case of a convicted criminal, there is neither a crime (seeking asylum is legal under international law) nor a sentence - asylum seekers do not know how long they will spend in detention nor if they will be allowed to settle in AU once their case has been heard.
  24. 24. Australia and Mandatory Detention Origins Australia: a Global laboratory “Australia has long been a laboratory for the invention and export of policies around the world that have contributed to the same dynamic elsewhere—as with the export of ‘offshore’ internment camps, electoral tactics that demonise asylum seekers, subcontracting mechanisms, and so on.’ Angela Mitropoulos 1. Origins: Mandatory detention in AU brought in under Keating in 1992. ! Quote from Immigration minister of the time, Gerry Hand. ! AU was the first country to introduce mandatory indefinite detention for asylum seekers. ! Needs to be seen in the global context of immigration policy. Although the Refugee Convention states that signatories must grant asylum to those fleeing persecution etc., this conflicts with states’ demands to control who enters their borders and settles. ! The attitude to asylum seekers must be seen within this context. Australia since the early 90s has sought to separate between so-called legitimate (‘legal’) and illegitimate (‘illegal’) migrants. ! The designation of those who arrive by boat as ‘illegal’ is arbitrary because it does not mean that they are any less in danger than those who arrive by plane or who come via resettlement programs (e.g. Syrians in offshore detention are ostensibly the same people as those being chosen for resettlement under recently announced programme). ! The very existence of mandatory detention for asylum seekers establishes the notion that there are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ asylum seekers and right and wrong methods to enter the country. ! Mandatory indefinite detention is arguable worse than imprisonment because, unlike in the case of a convicted criminal, there is neither a crime (seeking asylum is legal under international law) nor a sentence - asylum seekers do not know how long they will spend in detention nor if they will be allowed to settle in AU once their case has been heard.
  25. 25. The detention deterrent The AU government has, since 2013, claimed that seeking asylum by boat and has used propaganda to send a message to those who seek to come by boat that to do so is illegal. It has militarised border security through the appointment of a 3 star general to lead ‘Operation Sovereign Borders’, combination of boat interceptions, tow backs, turn backs and a policy of mandatory indefinite detention on Nauru and Manus island with no hope of resettlement for those found to be refugees in Australia (show video). ! The reintroduction of offshore detention in Nauru and Manus Island (PNG) since 2013 has been presented as a deterrent to asylum seekers attempting to come to AU by boat. ! The LNP mantra of ‘stop the boats’ (also espoused by Labor) is presented as humanitarian - stops deaths at sea. ! However, the harsh policy of boat turn backs and tow backs and the secrecy enveloping ‘Operation Sovereign Borders’ about what have been called ‘on- water operational matters’ means that the AU public does not have a full account of whether lives are still being lost at sea. ! As AM notes, ‘Violence is integral to the policies of mandatory detention and Operation Sovereign Borders…. In its actual conduct, as was predicted, the Australian government has endangered lives by successive acts of refoulement, is accused of causing injury to asylum seekers, and has undertaken unauthorized ‘people-smuggling’ into Indonesia.’ ! 2. Life in the detention centres of Nauru and Manus Island can only be described as dangerous. There have been two deaths - Reza Berati, 24 yr old Iranian asylum seeker hit on the head with a rock during protests on 17 February 2014 and Hamid Kehazai who died following an infection that went untreated in October 2014. ! Other cases include rape of 23 yr old Iranian woman who later attempted suicide and has been separated from her family who have been forbidden from having contact with her; children displaying suicidal behaviours and inappropriate sexual behaviour due to high levels of sexual abuse from both guards
  26. 26. The detention deterrent The AU government has, since 2013, claimed that seeking asylum by boat and has used propaganda to send a message to those who seek to come by boat that to do so is illegal. It has militarised border security through the appointment of a 3 star general to lead ‘Operation Sovereign Borders’, combination of boat interceptions, tow backs, turn backs and a policy of mandatory indefinite detention on Nauru and Manus island with no hope of resettlement for those found to be refugees in Australia (show video). ! The reintroduction of offshore detention in Nauru and Manus Island (PNG) since 2013 has been presented as a deterrent to asylum seekers attempting to come to AU by boat. ! The LNP mantra of ‘stop the boats’ (also espoused by Labor) is presented as humanitarian - stops deaths at sea. ! However, the harsh policy of boat turn backs and tow backs and the secrecy enveloping ‘Operation Sovereign Borders’ about what have been called ‘on- water operational matters’ means that the AU public does not have a full account of whether lives are still being lost at sea. ! As AM notes, ‘Violence is integral to the policies of mandatory detention and Operation Sovereign Borders…. In its actual conduct, as was predicted, the Australian government has endangered lives by successive acts of refoulement, is accused of causing injury to asylum seekers, and has undertaken unauthorized ‘people-smuggling’ into Indonesia.’ ! 2. Life in the detention centres of Nauru and Manus Island can only be described as dangerous. There have been two deaths - Reza Berati, 24 yr old Iranian asylum seeker hit on the head with a rock during protests on 17 February 2014 and Hamid Kehazai who died following an infection that went untreated in October 2014. ! Other cases include rape of 23 yr old Iranian woman who later attempted suicide and has been separated from her family who have been forbidden from having contact with her; children displaying suicidal behaviours and inappropriate sexual behaviour due to high levels of sexual abuse from both guards
  27. 27. The detention deterrent The AU government has, since 2013, claimed that seeking asylum by boat and has used propaganda to send a message to those who seek to come by boat that to do so is illegal. It has militarised border security through the appointment of a 3 star general to lead ‘Operation Sovereign Borders’, combination of boat interceptions, tow backs, turn backs and a policy of mandatory indefinite detention on Nauru and Manus island with no hope of resettlement for those found to be refugees in Australia (show video). ! The reintroduction of offshore detention in Nauru and Manus Island (PNG) since 2013 has been presented as a deterrent to asylum seekers attempting to come to AU by boat. ! The LNP mantra of ‘stop the boats’ (also espoused by Labor) is presented as humanitarian - stops deaths at sea. ! However, the harsh policy of boat turn backs and tow backs and the secrecy enveloping ‘Operation Sovereign Borders’ about what have been called ‘on- water operational matters’ means that the AU public does not have a full account of whether lives are still being lost at sea. ! As AM notes, ‘Violence is integral to the policies of mandatory detention and Operation Sovereign Borders…. In its actual conduct, as was predicted, the Australian government has endangered lives by successive acts of refoulement, is accused of causing injury to asylum seekers, and has undertaken unauthorized ‘people-smuggling’ into Indonesia.’ ! 2. Life in the detention centres of Nauru and Manus Island can only be described as dangerous. There have been two deaths - Reza Berati, 24 yr old Iranian asylum seeker hit on the head with a rock during protests on 17 February 2014 and Hamid Kehazai who died following an infection that went untreated in October 2014. ! Other cases include rape of 23 yr old Iranian woman who later attempted suicide and has been separated from her family who have been forbidden from having contact with her; children displaying suicidal behaviours and inappropriate sexual behaviour due to high levels of sexual abuse from both guards
  28. 28. The detention deterrent The AU government has, since 2013, claimed that seeking asylum by boat and has used propaganda to send a message to those who seek to come by boat that to do so is illegal. It has militarised border security through the appointment of a 3 star general to lead ‘Operation Sovereign Borders’, combination of boat interceptions, tow backs, turn backs and a policy of mandatory indefinite detention on Nauru and Manus island with no hope of resettlement for those found to be refugees in Australia (show video). ! The reintroduction of offshore detention in Nauru and Manus Island (PNG) since 2013 has been presented as a deterrent to asylum seekers attempting to come to AU by boat. ! The LNP mantra of ‘stop the boats’ (also espoused by Labor) is presented as humanitarian - stops deaths at sea. ! However, the harsh policy of boat turn backs and tow backs and the secrecy enveloping ‘Operation Sovereign Borders’ about what have been called ‘on- water operational matters’ means that the AU public does not have a full account of whether lives are still being lost at sea. ! As AM notes, ‘Violence is integral to the policies of mandatory detention and Operation Sovereign Borders…. In its actual conduct, as was predicted, the Australian government has endangered lives by successive acts of refoulement, is accused of causing injury to asylum seekers, and has undertaken unauthorized ‘people-smuggling’ into Indonesia.’ ! 2. Life in the detention centres of Nauru and Manus Island can only be described as dangerous. There have been two deaths - Reza Berati, 24 yr old Iranian asylum seeker hit on the head with a rock during protests on 17 February 2014 and Hamid Kehazai who died following an infection that went untreated in October 2014. ! Other cases include rape of 23 yr old Iranian woman who later attempted suicide and has been separated from her family who have been forbidden from having contact with her; children displaying suicidal behaviours and inappropriate sexual behaviour due to high levels of sexual abuse from both guards
  29. 29. The Detention industry The image shows the progression of private contracts for running detention centres on and offshore in AU since 1992.! ! The detention of asylum seekers has long been a profit-making industry (link to prison industrial complex from week 10).! ! [click on image for link to interactive map]! ! Serco and Transfield Services are the two biggest contractors for the government. (Transfield run offshore centres since 2012). It has earned almost $3 billion and is about to renew its contract with the government for another five years (under new name Broad Spectrum - parent company distancing itself from detention).! ! But not for profits have also made a lot of money out of detention, including the Salvos, Save the Children, Red Cross etc.! ! [click for figures break down]! ! ABC Fact check: Human Rights law Centre, Daniel Webb, claimed that AU expenditure for offshore detention was five times higher that UN programme in SE Asia. ABC Fact check ran the numbers and found Webb was right: ‘Using the exchange rate at the time of Mr Webb's claim, Australia is currently spending more than five times the amount on offshore processing than the UNHCR spends in South East Asia.’! ! So, it is important to understand mandatory detention as a public-private partnership. While the government wishes to send a message of harsh deterrence to stop people seeking asylum by boat, private companies and not for profits have a lot to gain financially.! ! Transfield for example is a loss making company that has been unable to pay dividends to its share holders in recent years (incl. this year). [show asx chart]. So detention contracts of over $2 bill for 5 years from government is essential to its survival.!
  30. 30. The Detention industry Offshore Detention Total Spend 2013-14 = $3.07bn ! Offshore spend per person = $859,363 ! Onshore per person = $157,014 ! Community per person = $131,723 The image shows the progression of private contracts for running detention centres on and offshore in AU since 1992.! ! The detention of asylum seekers has long been a profit-making industry (link to prison industrial complex from week 10).! ! [click on image for link to interactive map]! ! Serco and Transfield Services are the two biggest contractors for the government. (Transfield run offshore centres since 2012). It has earned almost $3 billion and is about to renew its contract with the government for another five years (under new name Broad Spectrum - parent company distancing itself from detention).! ! But not for profits have also made a lot of money out of detention, including the Salvos, Save the Children, Red Cross etc.! ! [click for figures break down]! ! ABC Fact check: Human Rights law Centre, Daniel Webb, claimed that AU expenditure for offshore detention was five times higher that UN programme in SE Asia. ABC Fact check ran the numbers and found Webb was right: ‘Using the exchange rate at the time of Mr Webb's claim, Australia is currently spending more than five times the amount on offshore processing than the UNHCR spends in South East Asia.’! ! So, it is important to understand mandatory detention as a public-private partnership. While the government wishes to send a message of harsh deterrence to stop people seeking asylum by boat, private companies and not for profits have a lot to gain financially.! ! Transfield for example is a loss making company that has been unable to pay dividends to its share holders in recent years (incl. this year). [show asx chart]. So detention contracts of over $2 bill for 5 years from government is essential to its survival.!
  31. 31. The Detention industry The image shows the progression of private contracts for running detention centres on and offshore in AU since 1992.! ! The detention of asylum seekers has long been a profit-making industry (link to prison industrial complex from week 10).! ! [click on image for link to interactive map]! ! Serco and Transfield Services are the two biggest contractors for the government. (Transfield run offshore centres since 2012). It has earned almost $3 billion and is about to renew its contract with the government for another five years (under new name Broad Spectrum - parent company distancing itself from detention).! ! But not for profits have also made a lot of money out of detention, including the Salvos, Save the Children, Red Cross etc.! ! [click for figures break down]! ! ABC Fact check: Human Rights law Centre, Daniel Webb, claimed that AU expenditure for offshore detention was five times higher that UN programme in SE Asia. ABC Fact check ran the numbers and found Webb was right: ‘Using the exchange rate at the time of Mr Webb's claim, Australia is currently spending more than five times the amount on offshore processing than the UNHCR spends in South East Asia.’! ! So, it is important to understand mandatory detention as a public-private partnership. While the government wishes to send a message of harsh deterrence to stop people seeking asylum by boat, private companies and not for profits have a lot to gain financially.! ! Transfield for example is a loss making company that has been unable to pay dividends to its share holders in recent years (incl. this year). [show asx chart]. So detention contracts of over $2 bill for 5 years from government is essential to its survival.!
  32. 32. Boycott & divestment campaigns Since early 2014, there has been a focus in refugee activism on encouraging divestment from the mandatory detention industry. ! Successful boycott of Sydney Biennale leading to resignation of its director, Luca B-N (Transfield heir). ! Divestment from Transfield by HESTA superannuation fund and pressure mounting within other super funds. ! Other campaigns - UniSuper Divest, Dropkick Decmil (encouraging Freos to divest from Decmil, another detention contractor). ! Explain ‘risk manage this’
  33. 33. Boycott & divestment campaigns Since early 2014, there has been a focus in refugee activism on encouraging divestment from the mandatory detention industry. ! Successful boycott of Sydney Biennale leading to resignation of its director, Luca B-N (Transfield heir). ! Divestment from Transfield by HESTA superannuation fund and pressure mounting within other super funds. ! Other campaigns - UniSuper Divest, Dropkick Decmil (encouraging Freos to divest from Decmil, another detention contractor). ! Explain ‘risk manage this’
  34. 34. Boycott & divestment campaigns Since early 2014, there has been a focus in refugee activism on encouraging divestment from the mandatory detention industry. ! Successful boycott of Sydney Biennale leading to resignation of its director, Luca B-N (Transfield heir). ! Divestment from Transfield by HESTA superannuation fund and pressure mounting within other super funds. ! Other campaigns - UniSuper Divest, Dropkick Decmil (encouraging Freos to divest from Decmil, another detention contractor). ! Explain ‘risk manage this’
  35. 35. Falling from the sky Guardian UK report (25.4.2013):! ‘A young man whose body was found on a pavement in west London almost certainly died after stowing away inside the landing gear of a British Airways flight from Angola in a desperate attempt to make a new life in the UK, an inquest has heard.! José Matada was either dead or at the point of death due to hypothermia and lack of oxygen when he fell from the plane as its undercarriage opened for its descent into Heathrow airport, west London coroners court was told.! He died on his 26th birthday, with a single pound coin in his pocket, as well as currency from Botswana. He is believed to have originally come from Mozambique, but authorities have been unable to trace any family or official confirmation of his identity.! His body was found on the pavement of Portman Avenue, in East Sheen, an affluent west London suburb, shortly before 7.45am on 9 September last year, just after flight BA76 from Luanda, the Angolan capital, passed overhead.’! !In ‘Falling from the Sky’ (2010), Les Back describes a number of other similar events, in 2001 and 2002. On one occasion, a driver saw a body falling from the sky, but no one was ever found.! !Clearly, people are taking desperate measures to get to their destination of choice.! !In Australia, people take voyages on overcrowded and unseaworthy boats. In Europe, asylum seekers cling to the undercarriage of the high-speed Eurostar train into the tunnel across the English channel.! In 2009, the French government dismantled a camp in the port city of Calais, known as ‘the jungle’, where migrants camped waiting for their chance to cross to the UK in this way. ! !Despite this, people keep finding ways to get in. ! !Nevertheless, there seems to be a disconnect between these human stories of bravery and desperation and the ability to extend empathy.! !Les Back suggests this is because the words ‘immigrant’ and ‘immigration’ have become loaded with negativity (as we shall see in the next slide).! !Around 150,000 migrant visas are granted to Australia each year. However, only around 14,000 asylum seekers are granted protection visas. While people are waiting to have their claims for asylum assessed, they are not allowed to work. ! !Despite popular opinion, many asylum seekers are highly skilled. The only thing that separates them from migrants entering through a migrant worker visa programme (e.g. 457) is the perception of illegality. ! !How is this perception of illegality achieved?! !!!
 
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  36. 36. Tutorial Questions Asylum Myths List prevalent myths about asylum seekers and refugees. What are the counter arguments? ! ! ! How are ‘moral panics’ about asylum seekers and refugees created? Why have societal attitudes towards refugees changed so dramatically over the last two decades?

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